By John Cousins
Mobile fruit and vegetable shops will be banned from parking on the sides of roads in a proposed city council safety crackdown.
It follows years of complaints that roadside traders blocked the sightlines of residents trying to see approaching traffic as residents drove out of their driveways.
The new measures will not affect Mr Whippy-type vending operators, who were constantly on the move, but traders who typically sold fruit and produce or flowers.
The council yesterday decided to test public opinion on the proposal to ban mobile shops from setting up on the inside of kerbs - normally the carparking shoulder of the road.
Under the proposal, vendors would also be prevented from trading outside homes and there must always be "adequate" roadside parking for customers.
The proposed new rules will not affect traders who currently park on grass reserves, such as along Papamoa Beach Rd, Memorial Park's verge along Devonport Rd and Yatton Park's verge on Fraser St.
Most of the city's main roads such as Fraser St, Cameron Rd and 15th Ave were already off-limits to mobile traders.
The new rules will outlaw mobile shops, commonly seen along Otumoetai Rd, Welcome Bay Rd, Levers Rd and Ngatai Rd - unless the traders can find a roadside reserve to park on with plenty of nearby parking.
The gain for mobile traders was that the council has dropped the rule that forced them to move on every half-hour.
Council monitoring officer Brian Jupp said that rule was very difficult to enforce because it meant almost constant policing.
To gain the elimination of this rule, traders had successfully argued that packing up every half-hour and shifting to a new spot up the road created a traffic hazard.
And national legislation meant the council could no longer use unfair competition as a criterion for where mobile traders were allowed to set up.
The old rule was that a trader could not stop within 150 metres of a shop-based competitor.
The council retains the general power to move mobile traders along if they cause a nuisance, such as chewing up the grass on a wet day.
Policy committee chairwoman Mary Dillon said some traders had driven neighbours mad because they were there all day and every day.
The proposed new rules will apply to all mobile shops parked at one location for longer than half-an-hour.
The council intends calling for public submissions.